Computer Generation

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

In this computer age, communication skills are taking a beating. In the ashram in Munger, we have a computer department, and these young IT-savvy people came to work in the department. A few months ago, I was surprised to hear a report that there were two people sitting at different tables, five feet away from each other, yet instead of talking to each other, they were sending emails to each other. I could not believe it! We have lost the skill of communication.

Isolated children

You don't even know how to speak, you don't even know how to communicate, that you need to send emails.

There have been many results and reports coming from various parts of the world. There was a report from the UK that children are forgetting how to write. In our time we used to write and improve our handwriting. We had books with lines and we had to write our letters between the lines, 'A, B, C, D'. Today, the young people in the West with computer overuse are forgetting how to write by hand.

These children with computers are not interacting with children of their own age. They are isolated in their room playing games on their Gameboy. There is no interaction between children anymore. There is more interaction between Google and children, than children and children.

What does this indicate? You are losing your ability to communicate, to interact, to be in groups with people. You are isolating yourselves; your children are isolating themselves from interacting with other people and from interacting with society. You as parents are allowing them to do so. Later you will say, "I don't know what happened, but my child has a low emotional quotient. I don't know what happened, but my child has a low social quotient."

Losing the grip on life

This is going to be the problem in the future. With high IQ's there will be low EQ's and low SQ's. It will be the death of humanity, as you are unable to express yourselves in a manner that is dignified. You are losing the qualities and skills of communication and interaction, the more that you isolate yourself from your society and confine yourself in your own world with your laptops, Gameboys, iPads, and iPhones, and all the apps that are available. At one level, you will have information at your fingertips, yet at another level you are going to lose the grip on your life. This is the developing trend.

In this situation, training to know the nature of the mind is going to be important. When Sigmund Freud developed the concepts of psychology – the unconscious, the id, the subconscious, and the interactions of the different dimensions of the mind and instincts – it gave an understanding of the basic structure of the human mind. Other psychoanalysts developed the theories propounded by Freud and Jung, and they developed various forms of psychoanalytical processes, such as EST, Silver Mind Control, and Transactional Analysis.

Rectify the imbalance

Further advancements in psychological research have shown that the human mind is governed by archetypes. What psychology calls archetypes and symbols are known as samskaras in yogic terminology. The archetypes of mind are the samskaras of yoga. According to modern psychology, as you become more material in thought, and more sensorial and sensual in your life, the archetypes, the samskaras, will go through a change. They will modify according to your life situation and condition. This modification, which may happen due to the normal social condition, will isolate the individual from other individuals, from society and from the community. The trend in society is to be independent and free from other people and their influences, so that one can live one's own ambitions and fulfil one's desires without any restrictions of parents and society. However, this is going to create confusion as to how the human character and human traits have to develop in the future.

What will be the appropriate steps taken by future generations to rectify the imbalance, which you are creating now in this generation in the form of isolation? You will have to come back to the principles and the practices of yoga. There, you can relearn to use the faculties of mind in the proper manner, starting with communication, understanding and purification. Communication is an integral part of human behaviour.

Bring in positivity

There are only two jatis, two types of life forms, that always talk, talk and talk. One, the birds; they are chirping the whole day. Second, the human beings; they are gossiping, gossiping and gossiping all day.

The speech of human beings is only criticism and gossip. It is not constructive. You talk of politics, it is always negative talk; you talk of social conditions, it is always negative talk; you talk of your family problems, it is always negative talk. This is how you condition your mind and this is how you condition your samskaras: in negativity.

This negativity has to be countered by positivity. Countering negativity through positivity has to happen at different levels. First, as a personal discipline: What can you do to be yourself and to improve yourself. Apart from spiritual disciplines, your social life has to improve. You cannot isolate yourself from social life under the guise of spiritual desire. You can bring a better balance into your social life and your family life, and integrate it properly with your spiritual life. When your are able to do this, your society will change and human society will change.

—10 April 2014, Worli, Mumbai, India